BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    






           SENATE TRANSPORTATION & HOUSING COMMITTEE       BILL NO: ab 716
          SENATOR MARK DESAULNIER, CHAIRMAN              AUTHOR:  dickinson
                                                         VERSION: 6/14/11
          Analysis by:  Mark Stivers                     FISCAL:  yes
          Hearing date:  June 21, 2011



          SUBJECT:

          Prohibition orders related to passenger misconduct on transit 
          services

          DESCRIPTION:

          This bill eliminates the sunset date on the law that allows 
          Sacramento Regional Transit and Fresno Area Express to issue 
          prohibition orders banning persons from entering district 
          property for determined periods of time for specified offenses 
          and adds the Bay Area Rapid Transit District to the program.  

          ANALYSIS:

          SB 1561 (Steinberg), Chapter 528, Statutes of 2008 allows 
          Sacramento Regional Transit (RT) and Fresno Area Express (FAX), 
          until January 1, 2012, to issue prohibition orders banning 
          persons from entering the property, facilities, or vehicles of 
          the transit district for determined periods of time for 
          specified offenses.  Specifically, current law allows RT and FAX 
          to issue a prohibition order to a person who has been cited on 
          at least three separate occasions within a period of 60 days for 
          any of the following infractions committed in or on a transit 
          vehicle, bus stop, or station of the transit district:

           Interfering with the operator or operation of a transit 
            vehicle, or impeding the safe boarding or alighting of 
            passengers.
           Committing any act or engaging in any behavior that may, with 
            reasonable foreseeability, cause harm or injury to any person 
            or property.
           Willfully disturbing others on or in a transit facility or 
            vehicle by engaging in boisterous or unruly behavior.
           Carrying an explosive or acid, flammable liquid, or toxic or 
            hazardous material in a public transit facility or vehicle.
           Urinating or defecating in a transit facility or vehicle, 
            except in a lavatory. 




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           Willfully blocking the free movement of another person in a 
            transit facility or vehicle. 
           Defacing with graffiti the interior or exterior of the 
            facilities or vehicles of a public transportation system.  

          Current law also allows RT and FAX to issue a prohibition order 
          to a person who has been arrested or convicted once for any of 
          the following misdemeanors or felonies committed in or on a 
          vehicle, bus stop, or station of the transit district:

           Acts involving violence, threats of violence, lewd or 
            lascivious behavior, or possession or sale of any illegal 
            substance.
           Loitering with the intent to engage in drug-related activity.
           Loitering with the intent to commit prostitution.

          The maximum duration of a prohibition order is as follows:

           30 days for a first order, 90 days for a second order within 
            one year, and 180 days for a third order within one year 
            related to infractions.
           30 days if issued pursuant to an arrest for a misdemeanor or 
            felony offense.  Upon conviction for the offense the order may 
            be extended to a total of 180 days for a misdemeanor and one 
            year for a felony.

          A prohibition order is effective eleven days after delivery is 
          deemed complete unless the person contests the proposed order 
          within 10 days in accordance with procedures adopted by the 
          transit district.  The procedures must include, among other 
          things, an opportunity to request an initial review and the 
          opportunity, if the person is dissatisfied with the results of 
          the initial review, to request an administrative hearing.  The 
          hearing must provide an independent, objective, fair, and 
          impartial review of the prohibition order, and the hearing 
          officer's employment and compensation may not be directly or 
          indirectly linked to the number of prohibition orders upheld.  
          If the transit district or hearing officer determines that the 
          person did not understand the nature and extent of his or her 
          actions or did not have the ability to control his or her 
          actions, the prohibition order shall be canceled.  If the person 
          is dependent upon the transit system for trips of necessity, 
          including travel to or from medical or legal appointments, 
          school or training classes, places of employment, or obtaining 
          food, clothing, and necessary household items, the transit 
          district or hearing officer must modify the prohibition order to 




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          allow for those trips.  If the person is dissatisfied with the 
          result of the administrative hearing, he or she may seek 
          judicial review of the administrative hearing decision within 90 
          days.

          Prior to implementing the prohibition order program, the transit 
          district must establish an advisory commission that is tasked, 
          among other things, with monitoring the issuance of prohibition 
          orders to ensure compliance with anti-discrimination laws and 
          with providing the governing board of the transit district and 
          the Legislature with an annual report on the program.

          Separate from the SB 1561 provisions, current law makes it a 
          misdemeanor for a person to enter or remain upon without 
          permission any rail transit related property owned or operated 
          by a county transportation commission or transportation 
          authority or for a person to interfere with, interrupt, or 
          hinder the safe and efficient operation of the rail-related 
          facility.

          Current law also provides generally that a peace officer, when 
          arresting a person for an infraction, may only require the 
          arrestee to present his or her driver's license or 
          identification for examination and to sign a written promise to 
          appear.  Until January 1, 2012, a transit district inspector or 
          supervisor whose duties include enforcement of district 
          ordinances may arrest and issue citations pursuant to the peace 
          officer provisions but may not make custodial arrests.

           This bill  eliminates the sunset on the law described above that 
          allows RT and FAX to issue prohibition orders banning persons 
          from entering district property for determined periods of time 
          for specified offenses and authorizes the Bay Area Rapid Transit 
          District to issue such prohibition orders.  The bill also:

           Allows the district to issue a prohibition order to a person 
            who has been cited on at least three separate occasions within 
            a period of 90 days, as opposed to 60 days, for specified 
            infractions committed in or on a vehicle, bus stop, or station 
            of the transit district.
           Provides that any person violating a prohibition order issued 
            is guilty of a misdemeanor.
           Expands the current prohibition on trespassing on rail 
            transit-related properties to all transit-related property.
           Removes the sunset on the provision of law allowing transit 
            district inspectors or supervisors whose duties include 




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            enforcement of district ordinances to arrest and to issue 
            citations for infractions, including requiring the arrestee to 
            present his or her driver's license or identification for 
            examination and to sign a written promise to appear.

          COMMENTS:

           1.Purpose of the bill  .  According to the author, over the years 
            RT has received a high number of complaints from riders 
            regarding the safety of RT vehicles, parking lots, and 
            passenger waiting areas.  To encourage ridership and to reduce 
            emissions associated with daily commuting, potential 
            passengers need to feel that transit services are a safe 
            alternative to driving.  SB 1561 allowed RT and FAX to exclude 
            passengers cited for certain offenses, helping to reduce 
            passenger disruptions and improve overall service.  The author 
            believes that the Legislature should make the program 
            permanent and improve the program by authorizing prohibition 
            orders for repeat offenses over a longer period of time and, 
            most importantly, creating a consequence for failure to obey a 
            prohibition order.

           2.Reports on existing programs  .  In its recent annual report, RT 
            indicates that it issued nine prohibition orders based on 
            misdemeanor or felony arrests between October 1, 2009 and 
            October 31, 2010.   None of the alleged violators contested 
            the order.  In addition, RT issued 129 infractions over this 
            same period for violations on the list of infractions eligible 
            for a prohibition order.  The top three violations included:  

                 Willfully disturbing others on or in a system facility 
               or vehicle by engaging in boisterous or unruly behavior 
               (59%).  
                 Urinating or defecating in a system facility, except in 
               a lavatory (17%).  
                 Interfering with the operator of the transit vehicle and 
               impeding the safe boarding or alighting of passengers 
               (12%).

            None of the cited offenders repeated the violations three or 
            more times within the 60 day period.  The annual report 
            recommends that the law be strengthened in three areas:  

                 Allow the district to issue prohibition orders for three 
               repeat infractions in a 90 day period, as opposed to a 60 
               day period, which this bill does.  




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                 Include fare violations as one of the infractions 
               eligible for a prohibition order.  
                 Establish a penalty for violating an exclusion order, 
               which this bill does.  

            FAX began implement its exclusion order program on February 1, 
            2010.  In its annual report for 2010, FAX stated that it has 
            issued 26 prohibition orders, all for misdemeanor and felony 
            acts, with over half relating to battery of public transit 
            employee or passenger.  None of the orders was appealed, 
            however FAX modified three orders and dismissed two.  

            In the cover letter accompanying the report, FAX states, "It 
            is very apparent to us that this law has helped reduce some of 
            the behavioral issues aboard FAX buses."  The report also 
            noted, however, an increase in assaults on bus drivers during 
            2010.  FAX speculated that this was due to increased 
            unemployment.  In addition to the recommendations above, FAX 
            recommended that the Legislature expand the program statewide, 
            allow transit providers to photograph persons subject to a 
            prohibition order and post those photographs in FAX facilities 
            to facilitate identification, and shorten the appeal period 
            from 10 days to one day after an arrest for a felony or 
            misdemeanor violation in order to allow for an immediate 
            prohibition order.

           1.Limited to nuisance behaviors  .  The bill continues the 
            compromise reached in SB 1561, which allows RT and FAX to 
            issue prohibition orders only for specified offenses that 
            relate to behaviors that directly affect, disturb, or threaten 
            other riders.  The list does not include offenses, such as 
            loitering or open containers, that may precede other 
            violations but do not directly affect other riders per se.  
            Nor does the list include offenses, such as fare evasion, that 
            negatively affect the district without directly harming other 
            riders.

           2.Prohibition orders based on arrests  .  The bill permanently 
            allows RT and FAX to issue prohibition orders based on 
            multiple cited infractions and based on a single arrest or 
            conviction for certain misdemeanors and felonies.  By allowing 
            for prohibition orders based on an arrest, this bill departs 
            from the usual American precedent of innocent until proven 
            guilty.  The sponsors point out, however, that district 
            attorneys do not prosecute many nuisance offenses committed on 
            transit.  When that occurs, transit districts have no other 




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            tools at their disposal to deal with nuisance behaviors.  In 
            recognition of this departure, the bill maintains the maximum 
            length of an order based on arrest at 30 days.  Such an order 
            can be extended upon conviction of the individual.  In 
            addition, the bill maintains detailed due process procedures 
            for persons to contest a prohibition order.  
          
           3.Double referral  .  The Senate Rules Committee has referred this 
            bill to both this committee and the Public Safety Committee.

          Assembly Votes:
               Floor:    66-8
               Appr: 17-0
               Trans:    11-1

          POSITIONS:  (Communicated to the Committee before noon on 
          Wednesday,                                             June 15, 
          2011)

               SUPPORT:  Sacramento Regional Transit District (sponsor)
                         Ridership for the Masses
                         Sacramento Area Council of Governments

          
               OPPOSED:  None received.